Long before Calvin Johnson decided to walk away from football, Julio Jones had been stating his case as the best receiver on the planet.

Jones authored perhaps his most definitive statement as the engine that made the Falcons‘ unstoppable offense go in Sunday’s lopsided NFC Championship Game victory over the Packers.

Playing through a painful toe injury that hobbled him in last week’s win, Jones displayed the total package while tormenting Green Bay cornerback LaDarius Gunter.


Jones’ flashed his extraordinary power and speed on a tackle-breaking 73-yard touchdown scamper. His other touchdown was a balletic beauty with impeccable balance and footwork in a tight space.

Outside of the scoring plays, Jones showed phenomenal hands, concentration and leaping ability while being flipped tail over teakettle on a 23-yard grab over the middle. Capable of doing the dirty work in addition to the spectacular plays, he also moved the chains with a lunging third-down catch to help extend the Falcons‘ incredible streak of eight consecutive games with an opening-drive touchdown.

Integral to Matt Ryan‘s MVP campaign, Jones draws the extra defensive attention that clears open prairie land for Atlanta’s passel of secondary receivers, running backs and tight ends.


If Sunday’s highlight-reel performance looked familiar, it’s because Jones shredded the 49ers defense for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 11 receptions in the 2012 NFC Championship Game. He is the only player in NFL history with multiple games over 150 yards in the conference championship. He also joined Hall of Famers Fred Biletnikoff and Jerry Rice as the only wide receivers to record at least 180 yards in multiple postseason games, per NFL Research.

To top it all off, Jones’ battled through an injury that turned out to be more than a garden variety turf toe. In addition to damage in two toe ligaments, Jones was also dealing with a mid-foot sprain, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports.

Jones has proven to be one of the transcendent talents of his generation. When his bust is ultimately unveiled in Canton, the Hall of Fame will be running clips of Sunday’s dominant effort.

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